Lauren Rabaino

While I was growing up, my parents were at work most of the time so my sisters and I were left in the hands of older cousins and relatives. I don’t blame my parents so much for always working to make a “better life” for the family, but looking back I wish that they were more involved in my life, either through my school or just one-on-one quality time.

I think of things that I feel like my parents should and should not have done in raising my sisters and me. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a decent environment and turned out fine – I guess.

As I rapidly approach my expected due date of Dec. 10, my thoughts are filled with the concepts of motherhood, child rearing and reevaluating my relationship with my own parents.

For instance, I will try not to be too critical of my child, encouraging and praising his natural talents, and not choosing work over family. Communication is key so I will talk to him openly about anything, and of course be actively involved in his life. And I can’t wait to take him to museums and parks and dive into family activities.

Discipline is such a touchy topic. Every parent has his or her own style of disciplining and raising children, and get very offended and defensive when told to do otherwise from outside observers. They always have some bitchy remark like, “What do you know about raising a child!”

I was walking in downtown San Luis Obispo with a mother, who shall remain anonymous, and her 4-year-old son. He was tired of walking and wanted his mother to carry him – he weighs at least 30 pounds – and we were blocks away from the car. She said no and told him to walk.

He then went into a blind tantrum and screamed for his mother to carry him, refusing to walk any farther. She easily gave in and carried his ass all the way back to the car.

What irks me the most is when children – I have seen this many, many times – completely take advantage of their parents and talk back to them … ooh, that really pushes my buttons!

I really don’t think the child is at fault for this unfavorable behavior. Discipline should begin early to prevent and deal with unfavorable behavior.

I have seen super-strict parents who rule with an iron fist, and others with a passive attitude who pretty much let their children do whatever they want. And sometimes, one parent will do the disciplining, while the other does nothing – which is one of the biggest complaints I hear concerning discipline.

From what I have seen, in many cases none of those discipline techniques, or lack thereof, work. I believe being in between authoritarian and lenient, somewhere alongside behavioral conditioning and positive reinforcement works best.

It is important that parents talk to each other and get on the same level as to how they will discipline their child before the baby is born to prevent discipline inconsistencies and a rift in the relationship.

Some of my relatives who have children try to provide me with advice regarding how to raise a child, but then I look at how wild and ungrateful their kids are and completely shut out what they tell me.

There is so much parents need to be concerned about. From child predators to massive toy recalls, being vulnerable to illnesses and following a child’s overall well-being and physical and social development – the list doesn’t end.

I fear that I won’t be a good mother and that I might unintentionally traumatize my child in some way. I feel like I need to be extra careful when raising a child, because usually when someone has some kind of mental or behavioral problem, there is always an argument tracing it back to his or her mom or dad, or both, saying it’s the parents’ fault and blaming them for the abnormal dysfunction.

Jennifer Ingan is a journalism senior and a Mustang Daily reporter. She will chronicle her experiences as a pregnant Cal Poly student every Thursday until she gives birth.

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